Almost half of all countries have had a woman leader

Most people don’t know this:

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About this misconception

Most people can recall some elected leader who is a woman, but most people haven’t realized the rapid change of the global trend that started after 1990. Until then only 22 countries had ever been led by a woman. But since then, sixty-nine new countries were added to the list. All young girls should learn that, even if the chances are still far from equal, the chances of becoming their country’s leader have improved a lot. Finally, women are leading a growing number of nations.

This data comes from UN Women, Wikipedia, PEW & CFR. The data from PEW is based upon data they analysed from the Council on Foreign Relations.

What is the difference between head of government and head of state

For this question we include both heads of government and heads of state who have been elected. A hereditary head of state like Queen Elizabeth II of the UK, would not be included in our list. Sometimes the head of government is also the head of state, such as the president of the United States. Some heads of state, such as Mary McAleese, who was elected as president of Ireland, were included, even though the position is largely ceremonial. The head of a government is the person who controls the business of the government (e.g. Angela Merkel and Margaret Thatcher). The role of head of state differs by country but is often ceremonial and has less responsiblity for the day-to-day running of the country than a head of government. Up to December 2023, there were 59 countries that had a female head of government.

Free slideshow, video, and data

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